World Cup 2019: India will have no left-arm pacer worries, feels Sachin Tendulkar

Published: May 23, 2019, 10:05 IST | Harit N Joshi

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar doesn't believe the absence of a left-arm pacer will hamper 1983 and 2011 World Cup champs' campaign during the upcoming World Cup in the United Kingdom

World Cup 2019: India will have no left-arm pacer worries, feels Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

Team India left for England on Tuesday with sky-high expectations to bring back the World Cup.

Ranked No. 2 in ODIs, Virat Kohli's men seem to have covered all bases, barring a few factors.

mid-day had a chat with batting legend Sachin Tendulkar yesterday to discuss the challenges that the Indian team may encounter at the mega event.

Excerpts:

India have no other left-hander apart from Shikhar Dhawan and Ravindra Jadeja. They also don't have a quality left-arm pacer. Will that have an impact?
India have a left-hander in Dhawan in the Top 6 and if Jadeja plays, he is going to bat at seven or eight. Of course, I believe if there is a left-hander in the middle order then that gets the opposition thinking and they have to readjust their field settings. The bowlers have to constantly readjust their lines and lengths. So, it is an important part, but it is not the end of the world. It is not only about left-hand, right-hand. Of course, it is important to an extent, but what is most important is whether the right-handers you have are world-class players or not. And I would say, the right-handed batsmen that we have in our team are all solid and top-class. They are all capable of handling any attack in the world no matter what surface they play on. When it comes to left-arm bowlers, it all boils down to creating those angles. But we have variety in our attack. Jasprit Bumrah has a different action, Bhuvneshwar Kumar relies on swing bowling and Mohammed Shami hits the deck hard, relies on off-the-seam movement and is pretty sharp in the air too. Bumrah likes to rely a lot on his yorkers and slower balls for variations. All three seamers are different. So, we do have variety in our attack. Just because we don't have a left-arm pacer it does not mean we don't have variety in our attack.

India pacer Jasprit Bumrah during the fifth ODI against Australia  at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi last March. pic/AFP
India pacer Jasprit Bumrah during the fifth ODI against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi last March. Pic/AFP

It is most likely the last 50-over World Cup for MS Dhoni. How would you want him to approach this tournament?
The way he has played his cricket, he needs to do exactly the same. I believe whenever I went out to bat, it was a huge honour to represent India, no matter whether it was a World Cup or Asia Cup, Test or one-day cricket. Representing the country was always the highest honour. To have that honour and to have the World Cup, nothing gets more exciting than that. I am sure Dhoni has geared up for this challenge. He is looking forward to it. He has had a good IPL season, so he's gone there [England] with lots of confidence and a positive mindset. You have had rich success in England on bilateral tours as well as in the 1999 World Cup. What is the mantra to succeed there?
The pitches that I have seen there [in England] in the last four matches are completely different from what I have seen (earlier). With this hot summer setting in England, the pitches are going to be on the flatter side unless there is a big cloud cover or the forecast is rain and there is a bit of grass left on the wicket and there is a bit of dampness on the pitch. That will allow the bowlers to
put the batsmen under pressure. If you see the last four matches between England and Pakistan, all games were high-scoring and the wickets were on the flatter side. As time goes by, the pitches will only get flatter and the spinners will come into play. The middle overs are going to be critical. There are going to be big totals set to chase and that is how the new rules are. The introduction of two new balls [from each end] have allowed this because with fielders inside the circle, the batters are prepared to take more chances. T20 cricket has prepared them to play new shots and be innovative. With two new balls, the ball is not reversing. It has made the bowlers' life difficult in the slog overs.

How crucial will be the role of wrist spinners?
This tournament is going to see a lot of wrist spinners. It is obvious that with Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav bowling in tandem, and seeing the Indian team's success in picking wickets in the middle overs, has encouraged other teams to pick more wrist spinners. There are quite a few leg-spinners. I think this is perhaps the first tournament with most leg spinners playing in it.

You saw Hardik Pandya from close quarters in the IPL. Will he be India's trump card?
The way Hardik batted [in the IPL], it was magnificent. The best part about his batting was that he was not slogging. He was playing proper cricketing shots. He was getting underneath the ball to attack and also getting the distance. If you are not slogging and playing proper shots, then I see more consistency in it. If he has been able to do it in the shorter format, this is slightly longer format which will allow him to settle in, get his eye in and then decide when to fire. I see Hardik doing well in this World Cup.

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